Igniting the Fire

Last night I had the pleasure of meeting the master minds behind my two favorite blogs: Young House Love and Bower Power. Here's the tail of how it all went down and how a relaxed and friendly 5 minute 'howdy-do' ignited the spark I've been needing The Petersik pair have been on the road and in the air on an EPIC book tour promoting their NEW YORK BEST TIMES selling book and Atlanta was their last stop. As soon as I learned they were coming to a flooring shop new me I registered and marked my calendar! It was the first book signing I'd ever been to and even though I had read about some of their earlier tour stops, I had no idea what to expect. Part of me was imagining it would be in a huge room with mingling moms and bloggers all eager top hop in line and get their books signed and photos taken. The YHL all-stars would be seated behind a table, possibly up on a small stage, ready to answer questions and rub their jaws from excessive smiling. My dreamed-up image was only partially true. There were plenty of eager moms and bloggers, even some adorable babes {including my very own bean} and a few four-legged friends. There was a book signing table, and two very sincere smiles coming from the stars of the evening. There was a room - a small one - but a room none the less.  There was also a line - a huge one. A line that not only wrapped out of the small room but down the block, looping around into the hall of a parking deck, then back lining the walls of not one, not two, but three rooms of an empty gallery. It was pretty comical watching new line-joiners walk into the cluttered and dimly lit rooms trying to find the end of the train. I'm sure people thought I was looney tunes walking in with a giant diaper bag and a squirmy bundled toddler who was constantly trying to run laps or find the next little piece of food buried in her bag. Thankfully I was not the only one who was looney tunes and Keelin was actually such a trooper.

Let me just add that I don't use the term "trooper" lightly in this situation because this "long line" I speak of took us 3 hours to get through, part of which was outside in the cold windy February night. Trooper is the understatement of the lifetime.

So, when we finally got into the small room, the WARM small room, I was ecstatic. The end was near, we were so close to meeting my blogger idols, and the time frame for a possible toddler meltdown was getting smaller and smaller with every swipe of  the Petersik's red sharpie. That's not the only reason I was ecstatic, but I should back up a little to fully explain. {geez this post is turning into that never-ending line, isn't it} When the line finally brought us to a point where we could see into the shop {Flor in Atlanta} I noticed there wasn't just a simple single-file stretch of people leading up to the signing table. There was another line leading away from them which I was convinced was where you would pay for your book if you hadn't brought one you'd already purchased. Then I saw a counter in the back where it was clear people were purchasing books so I was all sorts of confused and submitted to the fact that I'd have to wait and see what the 2nd line was for. So, fast forward once more to when the doors opened, the burst of heat welcomed us, and the 'end is near' excitement set in. As soon as I got IN the store I made a point to look around to see what people were waiting for. As I scanned the left side of the store I saw a quaint snack table with sweet treats and beverages, I saw a stand labeled "photobooth" where people were snapping away  making goofy faces {totally wish I'd gotten pictures with Keelin and I - mom fail}, AND THEN I saw the reason for the 2nd line. Chatting it up like the local celebrity she is was the lovely Kate Bower. Not only that, but her sweet hubby Jeremy and their adorable new baby boy Weston were flashing smiles as well! Jackpot. Seriously, my two favorite blogs come to life in one room. So worth the wait...

So, after buying my book, getting back into the line, fixing my feeble attempt at a Katniss-esque side braid, getting out the little gift I made for John and Sherry's daughter Clara {a custom creation from theKeenBean of course - nothing like a little self-promotion where I can get it!}, and keeping Keelin entertained enough to avoid a last-minute tantrum we finally got up to the table. Holy nicest-people-ever Batman. Seriously, such a sweet and genuine couple. They immediately thanked us for coming  and asked Keelin's name.  Sherry was stoked about the headband for Clara and we bantered a bit about how fast it normally takes our kids to rip them off their heads. Sherry gave a huge grin when she saw the name of my Etsy shop, "theKeenBean, LOVE the name!" and we jabbed about me being an (804) native. They were attentive and honestly interested in who we were, which was so incredibly comforting. Seriously I want to be best friends with these people. Keelin and I swung around the back of the table for a quick photo-op and ended our meeting by John telling me he'd "Say hello to the 804 for you" and me telling them to let me know how long it took Clara to rip the headband off her head! You know, just chatting it up with famous people like we were besties. No biggie.

Young House Love

Then we waited {and snacked on raspberry shortbread cookies} to see Kate. Yes, it was late and Keelin was getting cranky, but I decided we'd waited all this time we may as well. I'm so glad we stayed because Kate is such a sweetheart. She and her hubby both complimented Keelin on being sooo beautiful {true, true} and I oogled over little Weston and even got a smile from him! What a sweet boy! Kate joked that she nursed him in the car the last time he ate but was considering just feeding him there in the store - to which I encouragingly told her "go ahead, just pop it out girl!" I also got all gooey and told her how I loved reading her birth stories and was in the process of becoming a birthing coach and doula - which she was super encouraging about. After another compliment to the bean, an autograph from Kate {she has a featured project in the YHL book} and shared a few laughs when Kate said she really wanted a girl and might steal mine, we were done.

It was 10:00pm, we were finally headed home, and it was totally worth the wait.

Now it might seem silly for me to be drooling over people who, in the GRAND scheme of celebrities aren't exactly Ryan Gosling status, but being able to meet them and see how incredibly genuine and thankful they are for the support of a nobody like me, is incredibly encouraging. As you know I've recently put my own blog and Etsy shop on a bit of a pedestal and have decided to really 'go for it' to make them a success. Here in the last week or so I've been really down and unmotivated because I continuously see other bloggers {newer bloggers} who have greater fan-bases and a more solid interaction stream. I've made the mistake of comparing myself to those people and, as a result, have totally blown out my own flame. Getting to meet my 'blog heroes' helped me to remember that being a 'blogger' not about make money or being'popular'. It's about sharing bits of yourself in a way that makes you happy. It's about finding people with similar personalities to bounce ideas off of. It's about forming relationships with some random person across the world because you both had pimento cheese cravings while you were pregnant.

I can't have an 'end goal' when I take on the title of 'professional blogger'. Yes, getting sponsors and having people pay me to jot down my thoughts would be aces, but if that's all I'm doing this for... will I ever REALLY find success? Will the happiness that comes from sharing my thoughts and knowing some people out there appreciate them totally disappear when it becomes about money and 'fame'?

Last night's book signing really re-lit my fire. Not only did I learn what kind of patience {and muscle} it takes to hold a toddler for nearly three hours while wearing heels, but I learned that doing something because I love it is enough of a reward for me. I love blogging. I love sharing stories to keep friends and family updated on our lives and I love that I have gotten some more friends to share with along the way. I'm excited about moving forward thanks to my new flame and eager to see where it takes me. If you're willing to come along with me on the journey, I will be happy to have you! And on a final note I'd like to give a huge thank you to the Petersik's and the Bowers for being such wonderfully kind and inspiring people.

Until next time...